Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Analysis of "Orison" by Betsy Sholl

Poem Found Here: "Orison" by Betsy Sholl

Orision, a prayer.

I think what interests me the most about this poem is the intimacy of items.  I could be facetious and ask, "did god really have this jacket."  However, the poem lends itself to a certain vulnerability that is both ignored and acknowledged.

Let me  give back to God
his jacket, his locket,
his thin slippers,
sunglint, sleetspit, stars.

Note the "s" alliteration that moves along the poem as though to get through the poem in a momentum.  The poem does build with the images from jacket to stars, but the poem makes me wonder who the "God" represents in the poem.  Does this matter though?  I think the importance is what the speaker is letting go of.

And here's my cracked,
my sullen, unstrung guitar,
hung like a rabbit
in the butcher's window

Of all things that feels like has sentimental value to the speaker, it's this guitar.  It's the way the guitar is described through the personification of "sullen" to the simile of the rabbit.  There's a resignation through giving up, "a hole in the belly / where the song should be."

The next two lines has a circular feel to it," Emptiness only / emptiness can see."  Philosophy through the senses.  My question is would God also be this emptiness?  Is that why he needs these items?  Is the the speaker empty from giving these items away (well this is answered directly with the last two lines, "Let this be my prayer. / Does anything belong to me?").

By giving up the items, God becomes the forefront of the poem.  I'm not asking why the speaker gives these things up because there is an answer -- a prayer, a favor, but there isn't an answer to the "why God wants this."  

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